Even after Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox is complete, Disney doesn’t plan to shut down the studio’s production of R-rated movies like Deadpool, Disney CEO Bob Iger said today. Disney has long been opposed to releasing R-rated films, or doing anything that could tarnish its family-friendly image, so approving the edgier superhero films, which have found success with fans and at the box office, is a major change of pace.
Deadpool and Deadpool 2 were box-office and critical successes for 21st Century Fox, which Disney has been working to acquire since late 2017. Iger believes the combined company should continue serving the more adult-oriented audience, but he said the more adult films will have to remain separate from other Disney pictures to preserve the company’s wholesome image. “We will continue in that business,” Iger said of R-rated movies like Deadpool. “There’s certainly popularity with those types of films.”
Disney will carefully brand R-rated films “so we’re not in any way confusing the consumer,” he added. That means a third Deadpool film might exist under a Marvel banner, or an ongoing 21st Century Fox banner, without being labeled as a Disney or Marvel Studios project. Iger did not elaborate on whether that means films like Deadpool and Deadpool 2 won’t be available to stream on Disney’s upcoming streaming service, Disney+.
Disney will own a majority stake in Hulu once its acquisition of 21st Century Fox is finished, and the company could use Hulu as a way of streaming its R-rated films while keeping Disney+ family friendly. Disney+ will launch later this year, but Iger did not announce a specific launch date or subscription cost during the call. More information is expected to come out following Disney’s Investors Day on April 11th.